The UK emits some 150 million tonnes of carbon each year and has a commitment to reduce emissions by 20% by the year 2020.
Considering that the installation of a solar heating system both costs 2 tonnes of carbon but then saves approximately 3/4 to 1 tonne per year. If the UK housing stock was fitted with solar water heating systems, the UK’s emissions target for 2020 would be largely met without any additional investment in other alternative means of energy generation.
As a means of meeting the Kyoto emissions targets, empowering and supporting the general population is a far more effective way than aiming for a smaller number of big projects.
How and why?
Given sufficient information, the consumer insists on the best price and the maximum cost benefit. The consumer is also able to adopt or force the adoption of new technology far more quickly than big industry and Government. Simple examples are the VCR, DVDs flat panel TV’s! Two years ago plasma TVs were only owned by the rich or the entheusiast, now they are about to supplant traditional CRT TVs.
In the same way, all new houses (should, part L means they must) have double glazing, most houses have had double glazing fitted retrospectively.
But, fitting either replacement double glazing or adding solar panels invariably means that not only is there the financial and environmental cost of those items but also the earlier costs of the products that will be ripped out and sent to landfill!
When I installed my solar PV, the fact that it avoided the cost of traditionally roofing part of the roof was key financial imperative!
The home owner over the next few years by installing low priced (hopefully suitably sited) wind turbines and solar heating would more than match the governement’s efforts in supporting the energy companies in building big wind turbines. It also avoids transmission losses!
The benefits for the householder will be that they are cushioned against energy price rises and as the price of energy increases, will progressively save more and more money.
Once the micro generation device is fitted, perhaps the Govt should also part fund an ongoing maintenance programme. What a sad consequence it would be if in 20 years time we had roof tops covered in failed or failing solar panels, or broken wind turbines.
The video below is taken from my kitchen window. The swallows that nest just above my solar water heating control shave just left the nest for the 1st time and are hanging around outside.